The Dec 2005 Inc magazine has a great article on Point B, a consulting company with over 200 employees, and no office premises at all. In addition to their virtual nature, they also have a specific approach to their staff and consulting work, preferring to keep everything local, rather than moving consultants around the country.
They’ve had to battle client perceptions about size and capability, but with a few big contract successes under their belt, they’re showing that their approach is working. A good story, worth a read – here.
In the magazine, they include three specific guidelines for virtual companies:
- Be selective — not all employees can handle freedom. Point B relies heavily on referrals and hires candidates who have excellent credentials and a zest for life.
- Make it fun — to foster camaraderie and boost morale, Point B foot the bill any time co-workers get together to catch a Seattle Mariners game, say, or attend a concert.
- Share information — Point B’s online database allows employees to browse for new client projects and update their profiles to reflect their changing interests and goals.
Adjusting a ‘mechanism’ I once read about in ‘New Pioneers’ one could ‘charge’ all people a monthly entertainment fee that must be paid to the centre to be used for such events. Unless they use it to have social time with someone in the company themselves. That way you incentivise people to spend the money they would have paid to the centre themselves and also cut down on the work the centre has to do.
The trick I guess would be to send money from the centre so it wouldn’t ‘cost’ anyone anyway?